The annual Rath Yatra is celebrated on Ashadha Shukla Dwitiya (second day in bright fortnight of Ashadha month), and marks Jagannath’s annual visit to Gundicha Temple via MausiMaa Temple (aunt’s home) near Balagandi Chaka, Puri. The festival is celebrated with pomp and show by taking the deities of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra in procession to Gundicha Temple and they remain there for nine days. The procession then returns back to the main temple and this return journey of the deities is called Bahuda Yatra.
Legend has it…
Rath Yatra is considered the grandest festival of the supreme divinity who has manifested himself in the Kali Yuga to liberate humanity from the sufferings. Lord Jagannatha is identified to be a form of Krishna who has curtailed the influence of Yama, the God of Death in the sacred city of Puri – Srikshetra; therefore it is also called the Yamanika Tirtha. A glimpse of Lord Jagannatha on the chariot is considered to be very auspicious. The sanctity of the festival is such that even a touch of the chariot or even the ropes with which these are pulled is considered enough to confer the results of several pious deeds or penance for ages.
Three richly decorated chariots of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra, and their sister Subhadra, with the celestial wheel (Sudarshana Chakra) are pulled by devotees through the streets of Puri called Badadanda to the Gundicha Temple. On their way back from the Gundicha Temple, the three deities stop for a while near the MausiMaa Temple (Aunt’s abode) and have an offering of the Poda Pitha, which is a special type of pancake supposed to be the Lord’s favourite. After a stay for seven days, the deities return to their abode.
This is the only day when devotees who are not allowed in the temple premises, such as non-Hindus and foreigners, can get their glimpse of the deities. The chariots are built anew each year only from a particular type of tree.
There is no Puja Vidhi for Jagannath Rath Yatra.
3 Cups of rice
1 Cups of urad dhal
1 Cups of dry coconut powder
1 Can of Jackfruit
2-3 Large Bananas
Cup of oil
5 Tsp of baking powder
2 Tsp of cardamom powder
3 Cups of brown sugar
- Soak rice and urad dal together overnight. Grind into a fine paste the next day.
- To this add dry coconut powder, jackfruit ground into a pulp, mashed bananas, oil, baking powder, some broken cashew nuts, cardamom powder and brown sugar. Mix all the ingredients well.
- Grease and prepare a baking tray as you would for a regular cake. Pour the batter in the tray and bake at 350° F till a tooth pick inserted into it comes out clean.
- When cooled, cut into squares and offer to the Lord.